Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Questions (570)

Lisa Chambers


570. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of vacant housing units in County Mayo. [46108/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department and local authorities have been proactive in dealing with vacant properties and all local authorities, including Mayo County Council have prepared Vacant Homes Action Plans. In addition, there are a number of schemes available to incentivise reactivating appropriate dwellings into the liveable housing stock.

In order to more accurately determine the levels of long-term, vacant but recoverable dwellings that can be re-introduced into the liveable housing stock, my Department, in conjunction with the Housing Agency, the CSO and the local government sector, developed a survey methodology in relation to locating vacant housing and a pilot field-based survey was undertaken across six local authorities (Cork City Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Limerick City and County Council, Mayo County Council, Meath County Council, Waterford City and County Council.)

Having visually inspected some 1,065 properties in their administrative area, Mayo County Council identified 61 dwellings as being vacant following two visual inspections over the six month period of the survey. This equates to a vacancy rate of 5.2%, which is in line with what could be expected to allow “churn” in a normal housing market.

The areas targeted in Mayo as part of the pilot were both urban (e.g. Castlebar/Ballina) and rural (Bellavary/Ballinrobe), giving a better picture of vacancy throughout the County. Of the properties identified through the pilot survey, the Council has identified ownership in relation to 18 properties. A further 15 properties were not registered on the Property Registration Authority's Land Direct online service and further investigation is ongoing. Mayo County Council is continuing the process of contacting identified owners to discuss the various options available.

Mayo County Council has also developed the website vacanthomes.ie, on behalf of the local government sector to serve as a central portal for individuals to anonymously log possible vacant homes so that local authorities can follow up with the registered owners. The website has proved a useful tool in aiding local authorities identify potentially vacant homes, and latest statistics indicate that some 3,100 properties have been registered on vacanthomes.ie to date.